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June 2-3 2021 Global landscape Forum(GLF) held a digital conference themed: Restoring Africa’s Drylands. Landpages participated in plenary session discussion on Whose land is it anyway? An intergenerational dialogue exploring solutions to land tenure challenges.
Throughout Africa, land reform has opened up formal opportunities for women and young people to own land. However, many land transfers still occur outside of the formal system, and inheritance is often regulated through customary law. As a result, many women and youth end up with the right to use land, but not the title deed to formally own it. This makes it hard for them to obtain bank loans to invest in improved practices, which often require a solid collateral.
For pastoralists, the situation is particularly challenging, as statutory law often does not extend to communal land, and this is frequently sold by governments to private investors, who use it for the production of profitable export crops. This means pastoralists lose access to the water and grass that their animals need, and their tradition of transhumance is increasingly under threat. They clash with farmers who have consolidated their land rights and don’t want animals to ruin their harvest. This can lead to conflicts between herders, farmers and investors over water, grass and land.